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Friday, January 11, 2013

worker loses life ~ Chennai metro rail accident

Everyone in Chennai knows and are expectant of the ‘Chennai Metro Rail’ ~ as of now, the works which are going up on fast pace have thrown out of gears the flow of traffic in many places.  Chennai residents look with keenness and sometimes with awe the gigantic machineries that are in place along arterial Mount road and other places.   The change is so perceptible ~ first the stretch nearer LIC was closed and made one way, buses from the anna statue / Devi  complex  started going on General Patters Road / Woods Road / Whites Road, to join Mount road nearer United India HQ – now part of the work on the side of LIC is complete, vehicles ply on that, while the other half nearer Higginbothams is closed…

As you cross the places where work is underway, you sure have something to look up and some do that with fear in mind… not unfounded when you read the reports that appear in newspapers.

The Chennai Metro Rail is an upcoming rapid transit system in Chennai ~Phase I of the project consisting of two corridors covering a length of 45.1 km is under construction. The elevated section of the project is scheduled to be operational by 2013 and the entire project is scheduled to be completed by the financial year 2014-2015. About 55% of the corridors in Phase I is underground and the remaining is elevated.  There are to be 2 corridors : Washermanpet to Airport spanning 23.1 kms and Central to St Thomas Mount 22 km.  Those of us working in Whites road would have the corridor 1 running closer.

Work is going on and there are reports that a metro rail worker was killed and three others were injured when one end of a giant steel launching girder, used to assemble the elevated viaduct, crashed at a work site in Alandur, near St Thomas Mount, in the early hours of Thursday [10.1.13].  Police arrested two site engineers and two safety officers in connection with the accident.  The accident  reportedly happened at 3.30am when the giant girder was being moved from one span to another for works on top of a tall pillar. The four workers were on top of the girder when it fell.

The deceased is identified as Pimpal Saw, 22, from Bihar.  A metro rail official  is quoted as stating that the workers were operating a winch by sitting on top of the girder when one end of it tilted , hit a nearby pillar and slid down.  Steel launching girders, like the one that crashed, are used to lift, hang and assemble segment pieces of threemetre width to make a viaduct . After installing segments between two pillars, the launch girder is moved to the next pillar.

While metro rail has ordered an investigation into Thursday's accident that killed one worker and injured three others, workers at the site in Alandur said wrong handling of the launch girder was the cause. This and the earlier accident near Pachaiyappas have raised concerns on the safety standards and the way contractors are using labourers.  The accident, the second after a crane crash killed a worker in August last year, has cast a pal of gloom and a sense of insecurity among workers.

Such incidents raise the fear among the general public too.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Jan 2013.

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